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LORC: Beginnings Act 1 Pt 3
Posted By: HWPD<Disaster.nick@gmail.com>
Date: 16 August 2015, 6:31 am

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The Device and Recovery
16 Solar Cycles Later [21 Years Later: January 5 2551]
Twenty-Third Solar Cycle 420 Cycles 9th Age of Reclamation
Covenant Special Sciences Ministry Operation Vessel Mercy and Betrayal
Special Operations Science Major Naki 'Cimutee[ee]

The Mercy and Betrayal dropped out of slipspace over a lush tropical planet. Unknown debris orbited in the system, enough to be noticeable on the sensors as a navigational hazard. The ship settled into a high orbit over the unknown planet and began to launch various reconnaissance probes. Naki stood on the bridge, in the trench below the command deck. She double-checked the star maps and was satisfied that they were in the right location.

"Does this match the coordinates you found in that ancient temple, Major Cimutee?" The Shipmaster snorted.

"It was not a temple, it was the home of a superb Forerunner Scientist. And yes, this does match the location of the technology cache." Naki responded.

The Shipmaster was referring to the estate Naki had been working at for the last few cycles, the same one where she had gotten lost and received the knowledge transfer from that Forerunner scientist. That was where the coordinates really came from, not a data bank like she had told him. She didn't know everything she had been given, she was still unlocking its many secrets.

Naki brought up the base topographical scan the first probes were sending to the ship's computers. "Do you see these lines, Shipmaster?" Naki pointed to a series of lines and marks across the planet's surface.
"Yes, natural canyons and craters, nothing unusual for a planet." He said.

"Actually, no. Over the centuries, the climate has eroded the edges, but particle data from the probes show evidence that this planet endured large scale, harsh, orbital bombardment." Naki nodded back at the scan. "Something big happened here, and the Gods were part of it in more ways than one."

"Hmm. Well once our probes return, you'll be cleared for landing. If there are any structures down there, they'll be found."

"Yes, I know the procedure, Shipmaster." Naki said, heading back to her cabin to prepare for the landing. She reached above her bed and slid the clear door open to access the small shelf. Naki removed her data pad and headed to the common rooms to meet her interns.

However, just before she entered, the Shipmaster contacted her over her headset. "Cimutee, we've located a set of structures on the planet. You are clear for descent." Naki acknowledged his response and went into the common room.

"Good morning, Major Cimutee." One of the interns asked.

"Morning, Rita. Excited for your first undiscovered site landing?" Naki asked, almost echoing the words her old mentor had said to her, many years ago.

Science Major Roniee had been killed when the fleet she was assigned to was destroyed by the Humans, a rare occurrence in the war. Naki's friends, S`era and Kalo, both retired after fifteen solar cycles and each married an owner of the Nelum-Asaos Joint Farm off the coast of Cleavete. Last Naki heard was that each had a daughter.

Ream and Ivra both disappeared after publicly criticizing the war after they found supposed evidence that Humans were not a real enemy of the Gods. Naki hoped that they had been sent to Geleterose Installation, and not executed. Geleterose was a scientific outpost on a barren ice world. The only reason the outpost existed there, and not on one of the inner warmer planets, was because an ancient Forerunner science facility was buried far bellow the glacial crust. It was the equivalent of 'Patrolling the Vacuum' for the Covenant's vital scientific personnel.

"Yes I am, Ma'am." Rita said with a smile.

"Good, everyone head to this deck's hangar and board the Phantom." Naki said to them, heading down the hallway herself. Once they were on board Naki gripped the suspended hand hold. "Everyone take a seat. Pilot, take us down."
The Phantom lifted off and exited the hangar. The ride down through the breathable yet alien atmosphere was rough as their course took them right through the outer rings of a hurricane. Naki gripped the hand hold in an attempt to steady herself, but it did not help. However, roughness quickly dissipated as they left the storm and headed towards the site. Large trees had grown up, forming around the old Forerunner structures. The alloy landing pad had grass and ferns sprouting out of the classic icons that were engraved in the surface.

The Phantom stopped between trees and activated it's central grav-lift. "All of you stay here while we secure the area." Naki told her students. She unholstered her Plasma rifle from her hip and followed two SpecOps Warriors to the surface. Naki held the Plasma rifle in one hand and moved to the other side of the platform, sweeping across the clearing. "Area clear. 'Vatelmee, 'Netelamee. Secure the forest."

The two warriors disappeared into the forest, and after a few minutes, both returned from opposite ends of the clearing. "Motion sensors deployed, Major Cimutee." 'Netelamee reported.

"Only local wildlife in the area, ma'am. Nothing dangerous in the immediate region." 'Vatelmee added.

"Good, keep watch on the area." Naki waved up at the Phantom. "Pilot, time to land" She radioed.

"Order received, Major. Setting down in the clearing." The pilot responded. The Phantom turned around and settled down a meter above the vine-covered Forerunner alloy. The sides dropped down and Naki's students exited with Ultra Zeik 'Carunmee, Naki's Covenant Military-Science Ministry adviser.

"Feel free to explore the surface structures." Naki pointed down at a ramp that lead deeper into the facility. "But make sure to stay away from that area as we haven't secured it yet"

Her students nodded and spread out amongst the surface. Zeik came over and put an arm around her shoulder. "So Naki, have you thought about what I said the last time we spoke?" He asked as he looked down at her.

"With all due respect, Ultra 'Carunmee, while we have had very nice dinners and evenings together, I don't feel that I am ready for that depth of a relationship yet." Naki replied. A year ago, she had been engaged but the wedding fell through and she did not feel Zeik was actually ready for what he proposed.

"Ah now just you wait until I finally become an Aristocrat, my training is almost complete you know." Zeik chuckled.

Naki smiled suggestively. "Ultra, you know very well that I am a citizen of Zelso."

"Well what's going to stop you. Hmm?" Zeik replied.

"Your status has never influenced this relationship and it will not then either." Naki giggled, pushing his arm from her shoulder. "Now if you excuse me we have work to do... 'Vetelmee, 'Netelame. Follow me down. We need to secure the facility." Naki headed downward into the darkness.

'Vetelmee then activated a light stick and pressed it into a crack in the walls, illuminating the hall in a soft purple glow.

"No more lights or night vision, our weapons give off enough enough for now." Naki told him.

"Understood, ma'am." He replied.

Naki moved deeper inside, light streamed in through small windows in the next room. The windows overlooked the huge vista that the orbital bombardment had once carved out of ordinary plains. While 'Vetelmee and 'Netelmee were looking at the view, a beam of light crossed her eyes. A small trail of green light winked on along the floor tiles.

"Actually, you two return to the surface. I can handle myself down here." Naki told them.

"Yes Major." They replied in unison and headed back out of the structure.

To her left a door slid open, the pulsing green trail flowing through the doorway. Naki activated her night vision and followed the small trail. As she continued into the damaged facility, she ran her fingers across a blast mark that had been scarred into the alloy, another form of evidence of an ancient conflict that had happened across the galaxy.

Naki continued to follow the green lights, until she was suddenly blinded by her night vision, causing her to jump back in surprise. The system shut down and she shook her head and blinked repeatedly. She kept the night vision systems off line and saw what had caused the white flash. Up ahead, an old holographic screen struggled to activate after sensing her approach. Naki calmed herself down and moved past the damaged holoscreen.

The green trail stopped at a sealed doorway at the bottom of a ramp. The door was build like a vault, and it appeared that her small breaching charge would not be up the the challenge. The walls around it also looked reinforced, so cutting her way in could not work.

She stepped towards the door and pressed her palm against it. The metal bellow her hand warmed, to her surprise. As she stepped back and removed her hand she saw that her print was still there, glowing green like the trail she had followed. The door rumbled and slid open to another spacious room. Tables covered with miscellaneous pieces of alloy and other materials were scattered about. The green lights reappeared and lead her to another door, this one had been left open. The path ended inside, at a small safe door that just slid open as she approached.

Inside a small blue object sat on the floor, the room being devoid of anything else. "Hello there..." Naki muttered to herself as she picked the device up.
She took out her data pad and connected it to a small port on the device. There was no wireless signal belonging to the device, likely to keep it from being interfaced with by outside parties. Information suddenly flooded her data pad as the device attempted to take it over as a command interface. It wouldn't be too hard, Naki knew, as most Covenant technology was merely copied from Forerunner base technology.

Naki could not understand all of what the data said, but it soon disappeared, and was replaced by a black screen. The words 'Awaiting Pure Genetic Sample' flashed across in Forerunner script. If it wasn't for the Forerunner imprint she had received cycles, ago she would have had no idea what this information meant. However now it told her that this device in her hands was the pinnacle of Forerunner mutation and alteration technology.

This device could not only advance a mutation, "Whatever that is..." Naki thought to herself, but its primary purpose was to alter the user's very species. Her memories told her that much larger variants of the machine existed at one time, but this was the smallest one ever made.

Naki gathered up the Device and her data pad. When she got back to the ship she would need to get a new one issued. She slipped past the door and hurried back to the surface. She would have to send 'Vatelmee back down to place chem lights down for her students.

She stepped out into the sunlight and noticed a second Phantom had deployed a pre-fabricated science base. A troop of Unggoy was busy setting up the equipment. "Alright, 'Vatelmee, head down and light up the passageways. Be wary of any active systems, we don't know all of what happened on this site."

'Vatelmee emerged from the forest and nodded. "Understood ma'am. I will get right on it." He quickly moved down the pathway.

Naki walked into the science lab and took up a position at a computer console. She began to compose her report to the Prophet of Truth. Perhaps someday, he would authorize a project based on the Device, but until then she would just research it's properties.

1 Solar Cycle Later [1 Year Later: June 19 2552]
Twenty-Fourth Solar Cycle 78 Cycles 9th Age of Reclamation
Covenant Special Sciences Ministry Operation Vessel Mercy and Betrayal
Special Operations Science Major Naki 'Cimutee[ee]

Naki glanced at the files on her desk terminal and rubbed her forehead. The Super carrier Glorious Retribution had managed to swipe a Human stealth ship before it was able to self destruct or jump to slipspace in the last system. It also failed to delete most of its data, though the Shipmaster was disappointed that the navigational index was cleared.

What they did recover were medical and service records of the Human soldiers who were part of its fleet. Naki was going through the files, selecting potential test subjects should they be encountered still alive, wherever they battled next. She had her desk console hooked up to the data-pad, which was still connected to the Device. As she went through the translated Human documents, she looked for potential genetic markers that the Device had flagged.

There were four subject in the thousands of Humans the files showed. Three were standard Human soldiers, but one was a Demon, a Spartan. Naki could have any of the other Humans easily retrieved if any lances happened to see them, all she'd need to do was send their identification pictures to the Fieldmasters before they engaged in combat

However, for the Demon, a specialized lance would need to be assembled if they were to have any chance of capturing him alive. Naki pressed her finger to her Communications unit. " Ultra Carunmee, I need you to send me the authorization codes for a mass message."

"Understood, Naki. Sending them to you now." Zeik responded right away. He knew that her project had been authorized. In fact, she had noticed that it seemed like many projects similar to hers were being authorized to be tested in secret, and the small board that made up the Sangheili half of the Science department was small enough that secrets like that spread rapidly but never out of their select group. She was pretty sure not even Regret or Mercy knew about Truth's pet projects.

Zeik's message popped into her message inbox. She entered the codes into the message system and began typing her message.

Fleetwide Message Service
Encryption: None
Auth:Special Operations Science Major Naki 'Cimutee. Operation Commander. Project Lead. [C-9]
Date of Message: Twenty-Fourth Solar Cycle 78 Cycles 9th Age of Reclamation
I am opening up a voluntary position for recovery of subject for a medical
experiment, Special Operations preferred. It pays well. I will offer more
information upon acceptance.

With the message sent off in the system, all she had to do now was wait. Naki didn't expect many replies, most warriors would stay away from any medical related events. However, there would always be the few that would take up her request. If Zeik was still on active ground deployment, Naki was sure he would have volunteered. Naki looked over her shoulder at the machine that was creating the pure Sangheili genetic sample the device called for. Her eyelids became heavy, and she started to doze off at her desk.
The next morning, a message appeared into her inbox. It was a reply to her request. "Hello, Dr. Cimutee. I am Special Operations Major D`rok 'Tallaham, I am responding to your message, is there a location and time where I should meet you?"
"I'm not a doctor..." Naki muttered to herself. She waited a moment before replying, looking up D`rok's service record. The record appeared, a larger warning alerted her to possible Treason and Heresy charges. She opened the attachment and skimmed its content. "Let's see...tried near the start of the war for unauthorized use of spacecraft, use of Human technology, and suspected heresy." Naki stopped reading and thought about it, did she really want someone like him assigned to her team? "Hmm, that's not something you see everyday, but I guess he's exactly what I need for this."

She quickly typed up a response. "Very well, I'm located in the front end of the Mercy and Betrayal near Armory four-b, my name is on the door. Any time is fine." Naki stood and stretched her back. An evening of sleeping at her desk was not good for her body. A fresh Science Major uniform sat outside her room, in her main office. She changed and cleaned up a bit, but then there was a knock on the door. She pressed a button and the door slid open.

A SpecOps Major stood outside her door. He was not wearing a name badge "Hello, I presume that your are D`rok." Naki asked.

"Yes, Miss Cimutee," D'rok answered. "Would you mind if I took you to N`vek's?" He was referring to a chain of restaurants that inhabit almost all Sangheili ships. A popular place for Sangheili warriors to eat that was not the communal cafeteria.

"Oh." Naki was surprised, most males would not be so straightforward with a scientist. "Of course, just a moment," She headed into her back room and picked up a case she had checked out of the armory a few days before.

When she returned, D`rok gestured out the door. "Let us go." Naki nodded and followed him down the hallway towards an lift. After they entered, D`rok looked over at her. "I apologize for the sudden request, Miss Cimutee. I do not enjoy that we are watched in the halls and offices. I know for a fact that there are cameras placed in every angle of those rooms. However, there are safe places from their view; including the on-board restaurant, personal sleeping and changing courts, and the latrines. To have a camera in those areas is violation of personal documented mandates."

"That is... alright, D`rok." Naki looked at him oddly. They had just left her personal quarters, but perhaps he did not know that.

The lift came to a stop on the commons deck. It was an open space about the size of a hangar located along the ship's spine. Many rooms connected to the multi-level space, such as the exercise room and running tracks, Unggoy methane lounges and a few different restaurants. Most ships did not have this space, but since the Mercy and Betrayal was designed as a science vessel, it held accommodations for non-combatants. Naki and D`rok settled at a table in N`vek's. An Unggoy waiter brought over a few glasses of water and Naki gave him a small tip.

"So, Miss Cimutee. What is it that you wish to do?" D`rok politely asked.

"Well." Naki thought of how she was going to word the next part. "My project requires a Demon."

D`rok sat up straighter and chuckled slightly. "A Demon? That is a bit of a stretch. Correct?"

"It is required, and I read that you killed one in your file." Naki said, noting back to what she read last night.

He sighed. "That was over... sixteen cycles ago."

Naki agreed. "Still, once you know, you don't forget. It is like a survival instinct."

"I would like to forget it..." D`rok said, and rubbed a scar over his right eye. "How is that supposed to be possible? They never seem to be asleep, which is strange, for Human standards."

Naki nodded, it was a good question. She knew he would go at this tactically and not head-on like any other hot-headed warrior. "I will be supplying you with a heavy tranquilizer. It should be enough to bring down a Mgalekgolo for a few hours."

"Will that pierce its armor?" D`rok questioned.

Naki reached down below the table and lifted an unloaded Fuel Rod Gun. "That is why you will use this first."
"How did you get that in here? Surely you can not conceal that weapon behind your back." He smirked.

Naki glanced down at the crate and gave D`rok an irritated look. "It was in the case that I brought, and it is unloaded.
"Well I recommend you put it away. I am not supposed to handle such weaponry around fellow Covenant."

"That is why I am holding it, Major." Naki countered his response.

"Well then, it is not polite table manners." D`rok came back.

Naki nodded and placed the weapon back in its case as the Unggoy returned to take their order. She ordered a cup of Zupp Chau`Nia, and D`rok did the same. "So, how do you know so much about Human sleep patterns?" Naki asked, wondering about what he said earlier.

Naki noted that D`rok stiffened slightly. "Anyone in that is in my experience and position will have watched their enemies closely... the Humans, as I've read on side of a black Human craft, have a saying: 'Keep friends close and enemies closer.' I...assume I just pay attention," he smiled weakly.

"Hmm, very well." She said. "Bullshit. He's hiding something." She thought.

The next few seconds were quiet. "Are you married?" He asked.

"No," Naki said, remembering the last few males that had taken interest in her. "I do not wish to be right now."

"May I ask why? I am curious." He leaned forward on the table.

Naki leaned back. "Well my marriage fell through, and now I am waiting for someone I know to turn up."

D`rok chuckled loudly. "The silent stalk game I see. Hmm, what is your age though?"

"I am thirty four if you must know." Naki said.

"I apologize, it is not my place to ask." D`rok said. The food arrived and they continued to talk about other small life events, occasionally sipping their chowder. D`rok looked behind him. "It is a bit confusing to me..." He trailed off.

"What is?" She asked.

"I don't know why, but I have the feeling that the title N`vek's is familiar."

"Well it is one of the main restaurants in Sangheili ships. It is also very popular on Sanghelios." Naki said.

"That is most likely it. I just ended my sixth tour of duty."

"Ah, I know. I read your file," Naki said, nodding.

"Alright, what don't you know about me?" He closed his eyes.

Naki sighed. "I only know of your military service, as far back as you seem to materialize out of thin air at the beginning of the war."

"You probably know my hoof size, correct?"

"No, I only glanced at your file. It was only military information." She said.

"Very well," He paused and finished his soup. "When am I expected to retrieve the Demon?"

"We do not know, we are still perusing their fleet." Naki said. "You will be notified when we arrive."

"Understood," He stood up. "Thank you miss Cimutee, I will handle the bill." D'rok took her hand and helped her up politely.

"Very well D`rok. Farewell." Naki nodded and headed back to her cabin in the science sector. She returned to her desk and began to type a message to her staff to let them know that project Leau was still on track. The Demon's records were still open on the console where she left them. Naki glanced over at them. "Something about his number... one-zero two... it seems so familiar."